By Moses Ojewumi
Sanni Jamiu was the hero as Gateway United pipped Osun United 2-1 in a dramatic matchday six fixture of the Nigeria National League, NNL.
There were no changes to the squad that defeated Bendel Insurance in the midweek clash.
A big start for the hosts as Haruna Salifu nodded wide from a Samuel Akintola’s free kick as early as the 4th minute.
The home side pushed forward again when Ogunleye Sulaimon pulled a teasing cross to the area but Osun Utd’s Odudu Francis was well positioned to nod out of threat.
The opener would come in the 24th minute as centre referee adjudged Adebayo Aleem to have handled the ball in the box. Haruna Salifu stepped up and converted from the spot.
Haruna Salifu came close for his brace but could only head wide Sunkanmi’s cross from close range.
Chances were missed by the hosts in the first half; this time, defender Iwundu Chidozie nodded down a teasing cross which bounced off target.
Haruna Salifu then rose highest yet again but couldn’t keep his header down enough to hit the target.
As the second half resumed and stretched on, clear-cut chances were not coming forth for both sides until a melodramatic end to the second half.
First off, the away side grabbed the equalizer in the 88th minute via a header from Owolabi Habeeb when the striker met Abdulraheem’s cross with a glancing header.
Not to be deterred, Gateway United poured forward in search of a late win and were duly rewarded when a corner kick was played into the area, well laid down for Sanni Jamiu and the rest was the net smiling off a thunderbolt strike.
A goal that merited Gateway United’s performance all evening.
The win ensured that the Ogun State based outfit now pull clear of Osun United and remain top of Group B one of the NNL southern conference with 12pts.
Coach Toyin Ayinla expressed his pleasure at the spirited performance of his side in grinding a hard fought 2-1 victory.
“It wasn’t an easy game. It became more difficult with the number of chances missed in the first half, but we showed impeccable character and composure in the second half particularly after Osun United levelled. We showed the world the beauty of the game which is; it’s not over until it’s over. The boys fought well and it was excitement at the end of it all. So proud of the boys”
“We will take it a game after the other, next is an away game to Stormers, a derby for us. We will not take our feet off the accelerator. There’s always one or two things to correct at the end of a win, so we will work that out. Thanks to the Almighty for a competitive win like this, and of course our fans that didn’t give up, they knew we were capable of producing the magic moment”
Gateway United will next face Stormers FC of Abeokuta in a derby at MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto Abeokuta on Sunday 20th March, 2022